About Us

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Margaret Mead

cultural anthropologist

Headquartered in London, the staff and associates of Urban IQ have substantial experience of working with government, central and local and some major autonomous bodies. We specialise in social policy, strategy, project management, investigations and resolutions.

Our company has a small core and works with a few partner SME’s to provide the breadth and scale needed to meet all the challenges you face, be they strategic advice, research, or resource marshalling, investigations, technical information and guidance, programme and project delivery, coaching or interim management solutions.

Our Directors

Liz Fenton – Director, local government and strategy


Liz is passionate about social justice and ensuring public services help to deliver it. She is a public sector professional who worked in Local Government for over 20 years before becoming Director of Urban IQ in 2006. She has worked corporately across all areas of local government, in departmental service delivery roles and in partnership with voluntary and private sector bodies. She has extensive experience in public policy and research, strategic planning, economic development, partnership working and performance management.

Liz has worked on many research projects that have resulted in policies and programmes being able to demonstrate a strong evidence base and a framework for measuring improvement. Between 2011 and 2017 Liz worked on producing the Convergence Annual Report Framework for the Growth Boroughs partnership, drafting the framework, action plan, targets and milestones to measure the achievement of Olympic legacy promises to the area. Prior to establishing Urban IQ, she held a number of posts including Assistant Director of Community Services and Head of Policy and Regeneration. She is a qualified company secretary, researcher, mentor and coach and has a MA in Urban Regeneration.


Mary Newman – Director, systems for health and social care, investigations and reviews

Mary has a keen interest in human behaviours and subcultures, and their impact on politics and daily life. Working with central government and Parliament for over 20 years she gained a depth of experience in developing changes to the statutory and quality management frameworks that support the delivery of public services and risk management; and in ensuring that scrutiny and regulatory bodies properly discharge their functions. She has a particular grasp of service delivery issues in the NHS; she has been both an Executive Director of Operations and a Director of Quality and Assurance in acute services, as well as having served as Head of Clinical Strategies for the Department of Health, identifying how best to improve outcomes in key specialties across the NHS.


Mary has a wealth of experience in consultations, investigations and reviews – whether public or confidential – designed to find out what isn’t working and why; and in the programme management required to ensure the implementation of system changes and new ways of working. Mary is also experienced in navigating the complex systems developed to support patients with complex long term conditions and at end of life.


Our Staff

Wendy Hempson

Wendy has a wealth of experience ranging from the International Labour Organisation and World Health Organisation in Geneva, the International Institute of Democracy and Electoral Assistance in Stockholm to the private sector in London.

Her work has been largely at Board level and included coordinating organisational change and results-based management. She has strong skill sets in managing events from board meetings to international conferences and in office and facilities management. She speaks French, Spanish and Swedish.


wendy website pic

Ben Dewhirst

Ben is our policy and administrative officer, working to support investigations and research, drafting policy, and project development. We were impressed by his passion for equality and social justice in action.

Ben has experience and skills in research, policy, teamwork and project and organisational management. He has an MSc Econ in International Relations and a BA in Philosophy from Cardiff University. He enjoys playing rugby on the weekends, visiting the theatre whenever possible and gardening when the sun allows it.




Full CVs are available upon request.

Associated staff and partners

We maintain a pool of associates and other consultancy partners whom we will bring into projects as required. In recruiting to this group we look for the following:

Creativity and intellect to bring you innovative, informed and independent approaches to your challenges,

Flexibility from experience in a range of settings and roles,

Determination to deliver successful, practical and implementable solutions,

Technical skills needed to keep you abreast of the complexity and rate-of-change which challenge today’s public service providers, and

An evidence-based approach which ensures that the support we give reflects realities and not just suppositions.

We are developing and maintaining relationships with:

Artillery – have developed an enviable reputation for the development and curation of arts based community programmes and events. See http://www.artillery.org.uk/ for more details.

Community Matters UK – have built up a business base providing advice and support on transformational change and developing strong partnerships. See https://communitymatters.co.uk for more details.

Newman Francis – have a wealth of experience in housing and passion for supporting communities speak truth to power. See http://newmanfrancis.org/ for more details

Roger Taylor – Roger as a former Chief Executive of Manchester, Birmingham and Waltham Forest councils has a wealth of experience in leading and managing public services. His legal background is particularly helpful in supporting future assignments on investigations and reviews.

Rupert Dewhirst – Rupert is CIPFA accredited with years of experience in advising local government on financial issues. Rupert provides financial support and analysis into projects and studies we undertake.

Virtually Informed – is a provider of risk, security and privacy information and training, and the founder of Security2Live, an initiative aiming to raise Digital Safety Skills levels so people are better able to protect themselves from attackers and fraudsters. See http://Virtuallyinformed.com for more information

Corporate responsibility

We have supported a number of projects and initiatives including:

Cake and Company – a project established to tackle loneliness.

E17 Arts Trail – the largest community-led arts festival in London.

Growing Opportunities – a scheme to develop opportunities for both young people and local businesses via paid work experience.

Ready to find out more?